Wednesday, November 7, 2012

'Kill You Twice'

Just the other day, I received a phone call from my local library, informing me that a couple books on my reserve list had finally made it into the branch.  So, I went in, and there were the books, sitting on the Hold shelf with my name in them.

And there was 'The One'.  'The One' I'd been dying to read ever since it was first published.  

'Dying' is an apt word to use when it comes to 'The One', it being 'Kill You Twice', written by the phenomenal Chelsea Cain.

I ended up borrowing five books in all that day, but Chelsea's book received my immediate attention.

I finished it in one day.  I couldn't stop turning pages, despite the fact that the dog needed a walk, and dirty laundry was calling my name.  I ignored it all and gave Chelsea's book the respect it so richly deserves.

If you have read the other books in the series, you are aware that the stories center on the strange relationship between Archie Sheridan, a Portland police detective, and Gretchen Lowell, a cool blonde serial killer and Archie's former lover.  Gretchen is clever and so very intelligent...but then, Archie knows her tactics very, very well.  Of all her victims, he was the only one who lived to tell about it.   

Although Gretchen doesn't really show up in the third ('Evil at Heart') and fourth ('The Night Season') books, her presence is felt.

But she's back in 'Kill You Twice'...and she's still a horrible, infuriating, brilliant woman, despite the fact that she's drugged and locked up in maximum security at the state mental hospital.  Gretchen has some secrets, one quite major.  And Archie, finally coming to terms with his life and growing stronger every day, knows exactly how to 'play' her for information.  Their 'cat-and-mouse' relationship is a joy to behold.  Chelsea has a knack for bringing her characters to life; burning them into our memories, making us care, despite the fact that a few of them are mentally deranged.

In 'Kill You Twice', the first murder victim is discovered at Mt. Tabor, hanging from a tree.  And next, a crispy corpse is found laying under the former 'Made in Oregon' sign (Chelsea knows her Portland!).  Could this be the work of a copycat killer?  Or has Gretchen escaped? 

Susan, the intrepid, clever reporter, is back and her investigative skills were never sharper.  I have to say that I'm very happy that Susan's hippy mother, Bliss, has a larger role in the whole plot.    

But, most of all, we are given glimpses into Gretchen's past, discoveries that are slowly peeled back like the layers of an onion.

And her secret?  I'm not talking.  That's something you'll have to discover for yourself if you can get through the violence and gore.  But if you're as big a fan as me, that's trivial.

It's the marvelous relationship between Archie and Gretchen that makes you turn the pages.

Thanks, Chelsea, for bringing her back.  She was missed, scalpel and all.

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